El Karama Lodge Laikipia, Kenya

El Karama is an enchanting place - perfect for families and groups of friends looking for something a bit different.

The lodge sits within a working cattle ranch amidst the rugged scenery of Laikipia, between Segera and Ol Jogi around 42 kilometres from Nanyuki (1 hour drive).

Activities are varied with fantastic game drives - El Karama is home to four of the Big Five and there are around 80 different types of mammals and 430 bird species living here including the Northern Kenya Five (Besia oryx, Somali
ostrich, Grevy’s zebra, Gerenuk antelope & Vulturine
guinea fowl) - walking tours are a speciality and a superb way to experience the beautiful landscape. Additional activities range from bush meals, farm tours and excursions to special conservation focused activities. These include wildlife monitoring ranger walks, contributing to the predator identification programme and joining the Mt Kenya Horse Patrol team. The owners also offer 'Bush School' for 8-16 year olds with a wide variety of ranger-led activities including the chance to plant a tree at the potting shed. They estimate that four trees a month at least are lost to elephant damage, so with the help of guests(young and old) they aim to plant double that amount every month throughout the green seasons, when the rainfall will allow young seedlings to establish. For people looking for a hands-on conservation experience these additional activities are truly interesting and rewarding.

The lodge is rustic and lovingly designed with everything sourced locally from El Karama.There are six individual stone, canvas and thatch cottages or bandas, a beautiful central mess area with a large fireplace, bar and cosy reading area overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro river and a natural salt lick.

Each banda is en-suite with clean drinking water provided in the rooms and dining rooms every day. Hot water is available via solar heating and wood-fire boosting, using harvested fallen wood. Electricity for lighting and charging points is also solar powered. There is no mobile phone signal at the lodge.

The lodge is warmly hosted by an excellent local team of staff along with the owners, the Grant family. Head guide Joseph Kaluu was raised on El Karama and has unsurpassed knowledge of the area, flora and fauna.

Wonderful home-grown produce provides the core of 'farm to fork' dining - guests are invited to explore the ranch, dairy and ‘shamba’ (vegetable garden) where the incredible
ingredients enjoyed during a stay are produced.

Nearby Attractions

Laikipia Plateau

Similar Properties

Borana Lodge, Lewa Wilderness, Loisaba, Ol Pejeta Safari Cottages, Sweetwaters, The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille


El Karama Lodge


The swimming pool was completed at the end of 2013. It is a pioneering effort that has added something very special to our lodge. Not only does the pool area give you more space to explore, stunning and wide reaching views of the river, the Aberdares and the ridge beyond it has also proved popular with over 80 bird species who visit daily.

The pool itself comprises of a 14 m by 7m main pool with adjoining baby pool for little ones. It is chemical free and eco friendly: using the Eco Smarte system, which employs de-ionising for water purification rather than chlorine or salt, this pool is the first of its kind in Laikipia. They use solar energy from 9 panels to run the filtration system and the water can be recycled back into the eco system with no harmful effects. No chemicals are added and children and birds enjoy the clean water without side effects like itchy eyes or dry skin.

The Grants are delighted as a family to be able to showcase this technology and it is just one of the many innovations they are dedicated to that fits with their vision for low impact, eco tourism.

There are two thatched houses on either side of the pool, both with deep fireplaces and comfy sofas. The larger mess house is a dining room with a bar where guests can take meals in smaller groups. They’ve stocked up on reading materials, baby toys and lots of candles and lanterns to create a cosy atmosphere in the evening.

All the wood details and furniture are hand crafted and made of fallen wood from the ranch and recycled cedar fence posts from the old cattle bomas. The pool is surrounded by a dry stone walling topped with indigenous, flowering aloes which keeps the wind out and the birds and butterflies happy!

There is a stunning yoga space by the pool, a jogging track up at the farm and a bush volley ball court.


  • Bandas - four ensuite rooms with river views. These are the original rooms and are superbly comfortable whilst retaining an authentic ‘safari feel.’
  • Rondavel - this charming stone cottage sleeps three and is great for small families.
  • Hobbit House - the main family cottage, the Hobbit House has 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 2 kids’ beds on a mezzanine level.
  • River Tents - these lovely tents are a little way away from the main camp, offering more privacy while still being close enough to make use of the lodge facilities.
  • River Cottages - this wonderful new camp is built with every comfort in mind, including a private dining area and outside bath


Kids Activities: the owners have young children themselves and their ethos is to remove the distractions of modern technology and to bring children (and adults) back to nature as much as possible. Guides show your children how to collect and make sculptures with termite clay, how to track and make tracks using plaster casts, how to fish with hand lines and much more.

The lodges provides all the kit needed for these activities as part of the package and encourage parents with children at a writing age to get them writing and drawing.

  • Plaster casts of animal tracks
  • 'Poo' safaris
  • Termite hill clay sculpting
  • Fishing
  • Cooking lessons in the interactive kitchen

Other Activities:

  • Guided day & night game drives
  • Guided bush walks (up to 5 hours available)
  • Fly camping in suspended tree tents
  • Rock hide wildlife viewing & bird watching
  • Rock hide sleepout under the stars
  • Camera trapping & identification of animals
  • Bush breakfasts & dinners
  • Ranch, dairy and ‘shamba’ visits
  • Behind the scenes Eco-tour of the lodge
  • Volleyball, fitness & jogging at the ranch track
  • Baking lessons in the interactive kitchen
  • Camel trekking
  • Rhino experience on Ol Pejeta Conservancy
  • Cultural Community Visits - traditional villages and local supported school
  • Conservation activities

**Some activities incur additional charges**



Our belief is that it will be through engagement, inspiration and connection that our guests can
contribute to the health of this ecosystem; ensuring that the type of eco-tourism we offer is
balanced in giving back more than it takes away from the environment in which we live.

Sophie & Murray Grant, El Karama


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